Good Luck Chuck

Thursday, January 31, 2008

1.5 GOOMBAS

Does anyone out there remember Jessica Albas' first gig? She played Maya in the short-lived TV show, Flipper (the 90's version, not from the 60's). Even then, her nature beauty made me hate her and adore her at the same time. She's one of the few celebrities whose un-make-up-ed, mid chew, most un-becoming paparazzi photos are basically a joke. It's impossible to ugly-up that girl. So when her big break came via Dark Angel, I wasn't surprised. Her perfectly tanned, flawless skin and cute voice would surely make her Hollywood bound. Except unfortunately, it made her Hollywood bound toward flops like Into the Blue, Honey, and Good Luck Chuck.

Good Luck Chuck
, also starring stand-up comedian Dane Cook, features Charlie Logan, a cursed individual whose life has been filled with women finding Mr. Right directly after sleeping with him. At first, this scenario seems like every man's dream come true. Every woman uses him to find her true love, and that's fine by Charlie. The more sex, the better. But when Charlie meets Cam, a klutzy penguin wrangler, he forces himself into abstinence until he can find a way to break the curse.

If this movie had taken out all the raunchy sex scenes, the unnecessarily crude language, and the insensitive, misogynistic side-kick, this would have been a pretty decent chick flick. Unluckily, this crap was all mixed in. Sad for us. Sad for the movie. Sad for Dane Cook and Jessica Alba's careers. Good Luck Chuck is only slightly better than The Heartbreak Kid, a film I just reviewed a few days ago, only because Charlie Logan was a potential gentleman. Yes, he took advantage of the situation, but in some instances, he is quite lovely. And then, he'd say things like "Do you like it when I eat your penguin ass?" Gag me with a spoon and put me out of my misery.

This entire film is basically ludicrous; featuring characters with unrealistic occupations, unconvincing scenarios, and unfunny everything. I don't care how cute Jessica Alba looks as a clumsy ass. She can't save Chuck.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 6:45 PM 0 comments  

Juno

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

4.5 GOOMBAS

Pregnancy is in. I’d argue that it started with Lucille Ball, but I think it really started with Apple, Coco, Shilo, and Suri, the burgeoning generation of the children of celebrities. Jessica Alba and JLo are a-baking, Christina and Nicole Richie just spawned. Women are just sprouting babies everywhere. Maybe it’s because we can actually say “pregnant” instead of “with child” on TV, but either way, gestation is in.

Relatively unrecognized actress Ellen Paige stars in this coming of age comedy, Juno. “It started with a chair,” and then sixteen-year-old Juno MacGuff was pregnant. This is the story of how Juno deals with life in her unconventional and spunky way, and unknowingly teaches everyone around her a lesson in perseverance.

The dialogue in this film is smart and hilariously facetious, with just the right amount of sarcasm and zip. The writers deserve props, but so do the actors for their meticulous delivery of such perfect one-liners; “As far as boyfriends go, Paulie Bleeker is totally boss. He is the cheese to my macaroni.”

Juno MacGuff is one of the best characters I’ve seen in a very long time. She has attitude, she’s articulate in a slang-ish kind of way, and she’s bluntly honest. She has integrity and a firm understanding of her capability and her limits. As immature as she is in regard to her taste in funky clothing, blue frozen drinks, and choice of room d├ęcor (a hamburger phone, come on now), she takes her current situation and addresses it with ration and frankness. Her atypical candor while checking her pregnancy is already a testament to her independent, logical manner; all a typical day’s drama for this teen freak.

I hesitate to even comment on Juno’s “puffy” situation because really, the pregnancy’s a gimmick. The movie may use it to offer an interesting twist to a teenager’s life, but in all seriousness, it’s not about the sea monkey growing in her stomach. I never felt like her pregnancy was represented as a mistake. I don’t know what that says about society, but to me, the film’s non-judgmental tone is liberating. In a world so full of hate and narrow-minded sense, Juno makes a definite and defining decision, follows through with it, and moves on.

Juno is awesome. As funny and different as this film is, it really spoke to me on a different level. A movie with a combo like that is like, dude, one wicked baby big head out of a million food babies.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 12:48 AM 0 comments  

Stardust

Sunday, January 27, 2008

4 GOOMBAS

I’m not a big fantasy book reader. My devotion to Harry Potter is a fluke. I like coming-of-age novels, romantic fiction, and stories with adventure in the real world, as opposed to an alternate universe. So it's even more fun for me when I go to the movies and watch something like Narnia, Lord of the Rings, or Eragon. I have no idea what’s going to happen, and I’m quite often, pleasantly surprised. So when a movie like Stardust comes along, I just about gush with excitement; like I've discovered it first.

Stardust brought me into an exciting world of lightening catchers, greedy sorceresses, unicorns, and magic. Tristan crosses the wall and journeys to the land of Stormhold to bring back a fallen star and win the love of village beauty, Victoria. Little does Tristan know that the fallen star is actually a person, that a wicked witch and three princes are after the same prize, and his family ties to the other side of the wall are stronger than he thinks. Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert Dinero, Sienna Miller, and relative new comer, Carlie Cox star.

Stardust has what many of the Harry Potter movies lack, a perfect balance of wonder and story. I was thoroughly a part of the adventure and was quite impressed by how understandable the complicated plot was told. Typically, a film with so many moving parts becomes frustrating and unintelligible, but this movie’s plot was clear and easy to follow. Stardust is a good example of great story telling, a concept that is lost to many of today’s book adaptations.

Some other things that may make you want to watch this movie: Robert Dinero dancing around in a pink dress; crushing on the dorky Tristan who, by the end of the film, becomes a long-haired hottie; and pretty intense CG. I was caught up in the universe of Stormhold, and for about an hour, like Yvaine, I longed to be loved.

A few days after my initial viewing of the film, I wondered what a sorceress' powers would look like in real life. It definitely would look like green lighting.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 10:58 PM 0 comments  

Rush Hour 3

Friday, January 25, 2008

2.5 GOOMBAS

I just watched this movie two nights ago, and I can’t remember what most of the story was about. I literally had to go and read the Wikipedia article to remind myself of the plot synopsis. What does that tell you? (No, my mind is not going . . . I’m only twenty-four for gosh sakes).

The Is-His-Own-Stunt-Man Jackie Chan and comedian Chris Tucker reprise their roles as Chief Inspector Lee and Detective James Carter in the third installment of the Rush Hour series. The always professional Inspector Lee is off protecting Ambassador Han, but when the Ambassador is nearly assassinated, Lee rushes off (with Carter in tow) to Paris to take down the Triad. Somewhere in there, there is a French showgirl who is key to the plot, a ninja girl who’s kind of annoying, and Han’s daughter, the girl who looks old and young at the same time.

I started out by saying that this movie’s plot is undistinguished, and that’s because it really is. I remember key fight scenes, Jackie Chan’s bad acting, and Chris Tucker’s over acting, but this move isn’t memorable. It is thrown to the masses for pure entertainment, and the plot is an afterthought to Tucker’s one liners and Chan’s ability to swing, kick, and punch. Fun and unbelievable as it is, I do not doubt its future in the $5 bin at Walmart.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 4:49 PM 0 comments  

The Heartbreak Kid

Thursday, January 24, 2008

1 GOOMBAS

I don’t think anyone out there would contest the awfulness of a marriage gone wrong, but I also know that Americans are always criticized for having a 50% divorce rate. Yet in the Philippines (where divorce is pretty much illegal), unhappy couples stay married but live in separate rooms or homes. 50% is just a statistic, and it can’t really be used to judge the happiness of marriages if other countries don’t allow divorces in the first place. But unfortunately for Americans, it doesn’t help that our media commercializes marriage through shows like The Bachelor or The Newlyweds, thus making a serious lifetime commitment seem trivial. The Heartbreak Kid is one such media profit maker that is an embarrassment to American culture.

The Farrelly Brothers direct this comedy starring Ben Stiller as Eddie, a lonely sports shop owner who finds the perfect girl. Partially because he’s in love with her, and partially to prevent her from moving to the other side of the world, he jumps into marital bliss head first, but on their honeymoon, he unfortunately sees a very different side of his sweet new bride. Lucky for him, and sadly for her, Eddie meets Miranda, his perfect girl #2, and on their honeymoon he decides to try and win Miranda and dump his new wife.

Already sounds terrible, huh? No, what’s even more terrible is this is a remake of a Jane Fonda movie, also titled The Heartbreak Kid. I haven’t actually watched the original, but I plan to this weekend and will let you know if it’s a flop or on top. I digress.

This movie has absolutely no class. It’s cheap, unfunny, and a rude excuse for even a popcorn movie. Eddie was purposefully pursuing Miranda while on his honeymoon. In what universe is that okay? As moronic as his new bride is, there is nothing funny about this situation. Plus, what makes Miranda different from Lila? How do we know she won’t be a psychopath too? Yes, we agree that Eddie jumped into marriage a little too quickly, but what does that say about his 2 day relationship with Miranda? This movie is horrific and is all the way in bad taste.

Keep your heart intact. Don’t bother watching it.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 7:45 PM 0 comments  

Cloverfield

Monday, January 21, 2008

3.5 GOOMBAS

Were you sitting there, waiting with anticipation for the awesomeness of Transformers? The lights are dimming, the cold theater giving you goosebumps, the previews are starting, you're starting to sit back and relax and then . . . some weird ass movie trailer with no name plays and you see the head of the Statue of Liberty fly into the street. All you get is a date. A freaking date. "What the hell was that?" you ask. Then, you suddenly "Ooooh" with the rest of the audience as you see the name J.J. Abrams appear on the screen.

Brought to you from the obscure mind of TV's Lost producer, Cloverfield is a documentary-style monster movie about a group of young Manhattanites who try and survive the night. It's Rob's going away party, and as the night goes on and the social drama unfolds, an explosion occurs, and the real drama begins. The friends attempt to escape the city, but when the Brooklyn Bridge collapses and Rob decides to find Beth, the girl he loves, the friends find themselves in the middle of the battle between the US army and the thing before they are able to escape.

Let me start out with a disclaimer - I was incredibly nauseous by the end of the movie. I didn’t see anyone throw up, so it couldn’t have been that bad. But whatever you do, don’t sit up in the front!

Shot entirely from the first-person perspective of Hud, Rob’s best friend and the comic relief of the film, with his video camera, Cloverfield has so many great and cutting-edge aspects of a quality film. The main footage has intermittent slices of Beth and Rob’s day at Cooney Island because the movie is actually “taped over” their one perfect and only day together, and that symbolism in itself is already profound. There is no mention of a monster; the characters only react to what’s in front of them with “What the hell is that?!?” No one knows what’s going on, including the audience; the chaos is absolute, and we’re meant to be as completely in the dark as the fated New Yorkers. The suspense is almost unpalatable (almost), and it’s amazing how seamless the story-telling is when it’s a film meant to mimic an unedited home movie. The ending is perfectly poetic; the movie has a subtle way about it and is never quite that over-the-top. I can't help but know that this is how it would all go down if my friends and I were in this same situation.

However, where Cloverfield excels in craft, it lacks in follow through. Toward the end of the film, it starts losing some of its edge. Though not as satisfying, the unknown is always scarier, and revealing certain things wasn't such a good decision. The characters, through pretty well developed, usually don't react like how I think people (some in heels for that matter) in the middle of a devastated, monster infested, war zone would react.

I've always hated home movies. They have a haunting quality that is so personal and impossible to look away from. Cloverfield captures the final moments of some people's lives, and you're there, unable to help. It's aweful and simultaneously brilliant. Even though it doesn't make my "All Time Favorite Movies" list, the pop culture cult qualities and accomplished method of narration make the film worthy of the hype.

Sidenote: Recognize Beth? That's Rosa, the little girl who only spoke Spanish from Kindergarten Cop.

Sidenote: The radio transmission after the credits? Highlight to see "It's still alive . . ."

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 10:16 PM 0 comments  

The Simpsons Movie

Friday, January 11, 2008

3 GOOMBAS

SYNOPSIS: In Springfield, the home of the Simpsons, the day never finishes where it starts. Homer Simpson heroically saves a pig from slaughter, but he irresponsibly dumps its waste in lake and single-handedly pollutes the water to toxic levels. The EDA places a glass bubble around the city of Springfield to contain the pollutants, and the Simpsons manage to find a way out. Who will save Springfield in their absence?

The GOOM: It’s an extended, 87 minute episode with the same kind of bafoonish humor and the same kind of bombastic storytelling.

The BA: It’s an extended, 87 minute episode with the same kind of bafoonish humor and the same kind of bombastic storytelling.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 9:57 PM 0 comments  

Grindhouse: Planet Terror

3.5 GOOMBAS

SYNOPSIS: After a toxic biochemical agent is accidentally released in a small, rural town in Texas, those affected turn into zombies that eat the flesh of those still alive. A group of surviors, including Cherry, a stripper, El, her ex boyfriend, a motivated doctor, the sheriff and a slue of random others fight to live out the night.

The GOOM: Just as the other half of the double feature, Deathproof, Planet Terror has the same gritty charm, with maybe a bit more grit. It was creatively styled and was carried out through every last detail. Like the exploitation films of the 1970s, which this film is bases its appearance, the focus of this film is on entertainment not quality. The significant attempt to imitate the lack of quality is entertaining enough as it is, but the ridiculously cheesy action, the considerable amount of gore, and the deliberately horrible story-telling make for a pretty interesting film.

The BA: I kind of get how it could be fun to create a film that mimics the cult, nostalgic genre, just like it would be fun to do spoofs, but is a movie, which is made to look deliberately bad, really good? Or is it just bad? Is it just because Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino make the film that it’s automatically cool? Did the gun really need to go in her leg socket?

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 9:50 PM 0 comments  

Surf’s Up

3 GOOMBAS

SYNOPSIS: Cody Maverick is penguin surfer, and his childhood dream is to travel to the tropics and ride the waves just like his idol Big Z. His one chance of getting out of Shiverpool, Antarctica arrives when he is invited to the Penguin World Surfing Championship on Pen Gu Island , and it’s there that he finds his small town skill may not survive the big island surf.

The GOOM: Creatively and sophisticatedly animated (just look at that water!), Surf’s Up is a straight-forward “you can do anything when you set your mind to it” kind of story. It’s perfect for kids of all-ages, and you get to listen to my main man’s (Shia LaBeouf’s) wonderful, though smoke ridden, voice. The penguin’s distinct markings, made to mimic tattoo art, gives the characters a hip, yet still squeaky clean, vibe; the Chicken surfer was hysterical; and the chicks were cute and adorable. I'd also like to note the documentary style approach the movie took. Nice touch.

The BA: The story isn’t much to rave about. It’s just okay; nothing fancy or different, just okay. I’ve seen better movies, but this film isn’t all that bad either. I’d be indifferent if I didn’t call myself a critic (that’s with a lower case “c”).

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 9:41 PM 0 comments  

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

2.5 GOOMBAS

SYNOPSIS: Brooklyn Firefighters Chuck (Adam Sandler) and Larry (Kevin James) are best friends. Following the death of Larry’s wife, Larry becomes so consumed with his own grief and the pressure of raising his children alone that he forgets to change his primary financial beneficiary to children, and its past the deadline. His only option is to marry, but he trusts no one except his loyal friend, Chuck Levine. They obtain a gay marriage license, but their lawyer is sexy Alex McDonough (Jessica Biel) makes Chuck less faithful to his marriage.

The GOOM: As un-politically correct as this movie is, it had its moments. I was totally compelled by the Adam Sandler-Jessica Biel attraction, and by the end of the film I knew that many of Chuck’s anti-gay comments stated in the beginning were meant to show a change of character. And in celebration of this gay themed film, I thought Jessical Biel was hot.

The BA: I often forget how crude Adam Sandler can be. I only like his wholesome movies like The Wedding Singer or 50 First Dates, so I forget what a retarded jackass he can be. Many of his gay references and sexual innuendos were just too off-the-wall, and it really turned me off during the first half of the film.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 9:35 PM 0 comments  

Evan Almighty

1.5 GOOMBAS

SYNOPSIS: The sequel to the Jim Carey is God flick Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty stars Steve Carrell as Evan Baxter, a successful Congressman turned Old Testament Noah. Following his election, Evan moves his family to a large, expensive house to begin his new political life, but God (AKA Morgan Freeman) has ark-building in Evan’s future.

The GOOM: Pretty much nothing, but I did like the filmmakers’ attempt (and I stress the word attempt) to make it a family flick and not just a crassly corny movie.

The BA: Pretty much all of it. It wasn’t funny; it created no connection between the audience, the story, or the characters; and my favorite Gilmore Girl just can’t pass for a mom of three boys.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 9:29 PM 0 comments  

Enchanted

Thursday, January 03, 2008

4 GOOMBAS


About a year ago, Ashleigh, one of my two devoted readers, gave me the heads up on this movie after she saw the trailer. Ashleigh, my wonderfully "I take crap from no one," "melodramas are cheesy" best friend, the girl who answers something juvenile with her signature raised eyebrow, was excited about Enchanted, a movie about a Disney princess who is banished to reality and the Prince who would save her. It was my turn to give her the eyebrow lift.

Starring Junebug’s Amy Adams and Cyclopes (James Marsden), soon-to-be princess, Giselle, meets Prince Edward, they fall in love, and are to be married the very next day. However, in true Disney fashion, Prince Edward’s wicked step-mother banishes Giselle to New York City, the place without happily ever afters, and she’s left to wait and be saved by Prince Edward.

The film begins in animation and then transitions to motion picture at the point of Giselle’s banishment. As a kid, I hated movies that mixed cartoons with real-life motion picture. I thought the technique cheapened the movie and made it less real. To me, these movies had no magic, and I couldn’t possibly understand how a movie like Enchanted could ever be clever. Ash, I guess you saw something I didn’t.

This movie didn’t do just the normal, drop a princess in New York and show what happens kind of deal. It took it to the next level. She gets the animals to dress her in the morning. She can conjure her own beautiful dress out of nothing and still get a full night’s sleep. She’s always annoyingly happy and genuine. Oh, and the singing – the gloriously fun singing. Enchanted is hilarious, smart, and wholesome, but I think a lot of its success can be attributed to Amy Adams. Had they chosen a different actress to play Giselle, I don’t think this movie would have received such great reviews. James Marsden was too corny, just as you’d expect an actor to be in a movie like this, but Amy Adams is believable. She really is a princess; naive and sincere through and through. In those moments where cheese is almost certain, she fills it with cuteness and grace.

More things I want to point out:
-Patrick Dempsey also stars
-Is it just me, or does Patrick Dempsey's girlfriend scare you too?
-Ironically, although this is your typical fairy tale, it kind of isn't . . .

This movie was surprisingly hilarious. I’m buying it the minute it goes to DVD. I recommend this to anyone who isn't a masochist. You have to see it for yourself to believe how good it is.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 12:01 AM 1 comments  

High School Musical 2

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2.5 GOOMBAS

I liked High School Musical. What was I thinking? Was it really good? I can’t remember anymore - my memory of it is tainted by High School Musical 2.

Disney’s newest teen idols Zach Efron and Vanessa Hudgens are back for round two in this tween, cash cow, High School Musical 2. It’s the end of the school year and Troy and Gabrielle are hoping for the summer of their lives. Rivals, Sharpay and her flamboyant brother, Ryan, head to their parent owned, golf resort, home, and in an attempt to steal Troy for herself, Sharpay secretly offers him a job at the resort. Troy accepts the position with the original cast of high schoolers in tow.

Overall, this movie was cute and tolerable. The kids in this film are too good-looking for their own good, and many of the songs are good in that pop-y kind of way. Plus, we all have to keep in mind that this is a made-for-TV movie, so that automatically changes the scoring card. I'd love for my kids to turn on the TV and obsess about this movie instead of trying to keep up with the Britneys and Lindseys of the world. It's just good clean fun. It's also worth mentioning that the production of this movie far exceeds the expectations of any typical made-for-TV film. The wardrobe alone probably cost more than any Lifetime movie cost to make. However, compared to its earlier counterpart, High School Musical 2 doesn't have its 'head in the game.'

High School Musical 2 didn't have any unique creativity. It took the same formula and regurgitated it all over again, but with a less diverse song selection. The whole movie was Pop, with Zach Efron at center stage, his fists pounding the air and his face forming ridiculous, "passionate" contortions. Poor Miss Hudgens, who I think is adorable despite the naked picture scandal, takes a definite backseat; even Ashley Tisdale surpasses her. It just isn't anything special.

The verdict: every teenyboppers dream come true, but if you've already been through high school once, why do it again?

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 8:30 PM 1 comments